Skip to content

Now off to the races: the Miami Heat

Dec 26, 2011, 7:57 PM EDT

Miami Heat v Dallas Mavericks Getty Images

Tom Haberstroh has some thoughts on the Miami Heat’s new “Pace and Space” offense after the Heat’s opening-day blowout of the defending champion Dallas Mavericks. Here’s a quick excerpt from his post, which starts with a description of LeBron James drawing a foul on a fast break after a made basket:

LeBron blurred past the defense en route to one of his eight transition plays on the day. He scored 17 of his 37 points in transition in the season opener. Last season, LeBron scored 6.1 points per game in transition according to Synergy Sports, a data-tracking service used by NBA teams. He nearly tripled that figure in the season premiere of the Heat’s new “pace and space” offense. With 31 points on fast breaks, the Heat more than doubled their average of 14.2 points from last season.

Yes, it’s hard to read to much into the first game of the season, especially with all the players Dallas lost, the shortened training camp, and the emotional pre-game banner ceremony for the Mavericks. But the Heat’s fast, furious, and flowing attack was what a lot of NBA fans have been waiting more than a year and a half to see.

Even without much effective weak-side action in the half-court or Chris Bosh doing anything offensively, the Heat absolutely carved the Mavericks’ defense to pieces, and they did it with panache. Having Mario Chalmers and Norris Cole play the point full-time instead of relying on a shooter like Carlos Arroyo, Mike Bibby, or Eddie House at the point made a huge difference — both players used their speed, athleticism, and aggressiveness to put pressure on the Mavericks on both end of the floor, which was a major factor in helping the Heat get out in transition so often.

The major question facing the Heat if they continue to play this style is whether it will work as well in the playoffs, when the game tends to slow down and possessions get more tense. For that reason, the Heat’s other main offensive adjustment — they used far more of James and Wade in the post and had far less of James and Wade aimlessly launching jumpers from the perimeter — could end up being more important than the team’s new commitment to pushing the pace when the games start to really matter.

  1. 1972wasalongtimeago - Dec 26, 2011 at 10:39 PM

    3 hours and not one comment? Nobody has anything to say?

  2. dtsmith - Dec 26, 2011 at 11:01 PM

    Well, it IS the NBA and it’s not the finals yet so why WOULD anybody care enough to respond?

  3. basketballfan4life - Dec 26, 2011 at 11:05 PM

    They can’t find a reason to hate. Hilarious

    • 1972wasalongtimeago - Dec 26, 2011 at 11:53 PM

      Wait neil the Heat’s first loss. They’ll all be out in full force.

  4. pudgalvin - Dec 26, 2011 at 11:30 PM

    I won’t be a hater, but everyone knows if you try and get into a race with them you’ll lose. Can they win a half court game or is Lebron just going to huck threes?

  5. chargerdillon - Dec 27, 2011 at 11:17 AM

    Does everybody forget they were 2 games away from being champions last year.

    It’s not like they were even that bad to begin with, and they just became a much better team with some adjustments. That should be really scary to the rest of the league.

    No question, the Heat are the real showtime right now

    • yournuts - Dec 27, 2011 at 4:33 PM

      2 wins away from the championship is the same as 50 games away. Only the Champion is remembered.

  6. Chris Fiorentino - Dec 27, 2011 at 12:09 PM

    “Yes, it’s hard to read to much into the first game of the season, especially with all the players Dallas lost, the shortened training camp, and the emotional pre-game banner ceremony for the Mavericks. But…”

    …I am going to anyway

Leave Comment

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!

Featured video

Why can't Lakers have a player-coach?
Top 10 NBA Player Searches
  1. T. Warren (4209)
  2. K. Love (4179)
  3. L. James (4152)
  4. R. Allen (3557)
  5. J. Nelson (3081)
  1. A. Wiggins (3004)
  2. K. Bryant (2781)
  3. D. Rose (2705)
  4. C. Anthony (2634)
  5. E. Bledsoe (2482)